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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  January 22, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm EST

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if you stay connected to us 24/7 on twitter, my handle is @alivelshi. have a great weekend. hello. thanks for join us. i'm fredricka whitfield. we'll look at the 2012 presidential contenders in this hour. first, we'll begin with some breaking news. the arizona congresswoman who was shot in the head one year ago is announcing that she will resign this week. gabby giffords released this video statement online today saying she has to focus on her recovery. >> i don't remember much from that horrible day, but i will never forget the trust you placed in me to be your voice.
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thank you for your prayers and for giving me time to recover. i have more work to do on my recovery. so to do what is best for arizona, i will step down this week. i'm getting better. >> let's bring in cnn's athena jones from washington. what kind of reaction are we receiving? >> the reaction has been swift here on capitol hill from both sides of the aisle. democratic leader nancy pelosi said i join all my colleagues in congress in thanking gabby for the honor of calling her colleague and wishing gabby and mark great success and happiness. and house speaker john boehner said in his statement, i salute congresswoman giffords for her service and for the courage and perseverance she's shown in the face of tragedy. she will be missed.
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we also saw a statement from representative steny hoyer saying it was courageous of gabby giffords to put -- to make this decision to put her constituents -- to do the best she could for her constituents. she'll be stepping down as she mentioned in the individuvideo on her health. her office and the statement attached to this video put out said that one of the last acts of congress for gabby giffords will be attending the president's state of the union address here at the capital on tuesday evening. also, she's going to be completing that congress on your corner event that was interrupted by the gunman last year, last january 8th. she had gone to the tucson supermarket to meet and greet constituents and then there was the mass shooting that left six people dead and 12 other injured. she'll meet some of the people that were at that supermarket event. >> athena jones, thank you so much for bringing us the breaking developments. >> thanks.
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now to the 2012 presidential contenders and the game changing outcome of the south carolina primary. today newt gingrich is celebrating a stunning come from behind victory in south carolina. just a week ago he was trailing mitt romney in the state by double digits. gingrich captured 40% of the vote. romney came in second with 28%. rick santorum won 17%. and ron paul finished fourth with 13% of the vote. gingrich took notice of his competitors in his victory speech last night. >> the genius of america is that you can come from any background. i watched tonight the fine speeches of the other three candidates on our side. and i was struck with how much they reflected the openness of the american system. you know, rick santorum showed enormous courage in iowa when he
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had no money, nobody covered him, and he just kept campaigning. and then as a further example of how wide open our system is, you have dr. ron paul, who on the issue of money and the federal reserve has been right for 25 years. and while i disagree with him on many other things, there is no doubt that a lot of his critique of inflation of fiat money and the federal reserve is absolutely the right direction and something i can support strongly. and finally, governor romney, with whom i disagree on many issues, is nonetheless a good example of america. he's hard working. he's been very successful. he's organized large systems. he did a terrific job at the winter olympics. and the fact is, if you look at
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the four of us, we are proof that you can come from a wide range of backgrounds and in america you have a chance to try to make your case no matter what the elites think in new york and washington. >> so we now have three different republican candidates winning first three nominating contests. that's never happened in the history of the modern republican primary system. we're talking about gingrich winning south carolina. romney, new hampshire. and then santorum we just learned within the last 24 hours that after all he ends up winning iowa. so it is interesting. there were so many analysts who said come january 31st, after that florida primary, the nominee will have been crowned. not the case. now it means many more states will matter, doesn't it? >> that was one of those analysts because -- i think we were all looking at that. mitt romney had the most money, the best organization, he had the momentum. he won iowa. until he didn't win iowa. we knew he was going to win new
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hampshire handily. he was up double digits on newt gingrich coming into this week. it was inevitable. he had the momentum. all of a sudden, the wheels came off the cart. mitt romney's campaign has imploded at least at this moment. newt gingrich is on the rise. >> why did the wheels come off? are we talking about the -- going back and forth with whether he was going to release the tax information? >> it was because i think what people were taking away from that is that he was trying to hide something. and, you know, american people don't want that. they want some kind of openness. they want to get to know you. they want to connect with you. mitt romney had a difficult time connecting with people as. with he's a very nice man, a very smart man, but the fact of the matter is he doesn't have that connection. >> so now he will be -- he likely is to release those returns come tuesday. does that mean people will be able to relate to? will they see the figures and his wealth and that may further distance him from people who say he doesn't know what my life is like? >> you know, i don't think
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people will hold it against the fact he's done so well in business. the fact is i don't think people will hold that against him. what they'll be angry about, though, is his inability to relate when he says things that would distance himself from these folks. let's remember, we're talking about republican voters now, republican primary, the democrats, the liberals, they will use these tax returns as a battering ram against him. what mitt romney needs to continue to do is two things, talk about president obama and talk about how his business experience will help turn the country around. >> let's talk about the conservative vote. rick santorum, newt gingrich splitting the conservative vote. come florida, whole different ball game, whole different state. whole different electorate. >> whole different electorate. our large state, a diverse electorate. the first state where the voters in south florida will be different than the voters in northwest florida and northeast florida. we have a lot of northern transplants down there. that could help governor romney. the conservative vote will get split up, though, by rick santorum and newt gingrich.
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as we harvard from mr. gingrich in his speech last night, he was conciliatory toward mr. santorum and mr. paul trying to get some of those voters to come to his side. rick santorum could be mitt romney's ace in the hole to break up that conservative vote in florida. >> we're going to talk to three reporters who covered the state of florida. we'll talk exactly about that, how that state is really split up into three very different thirds that we're going to be expanding on. thanks so much, mark preston. good to see you. we'll see you next in florida. >> thursday night. >> i know. racking up the frequent flier miles. all right, thanks so much, mark. tough talk from mitt romney. he says his rivals are trying to demonize a core conservative principal. romney in his own words next. one chance to hunt down the right insurance at the right price. the "name your price" tool, only from progressive. ready, aim, save! grrr!
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welcome back to this special hour of the "cnn newsroom." we're taking this time out every sunday to let you hear from the 2012 presidential contenders in their own words, out on the campaign trail. today, republican presidential hopeful mitt romney announced he will release his 2010 tax returns on tuesday. he'll also release an estimate of his 2011 tax liability information. the candidate admits it was a mistake to hold off on releasing his returns calling the controversy over the issue a distraction in the race. after finishing a second place in south carolina's primary this weekend, romney took aim at rivals who have focused on his personal wealth. >> the republican party doesn't demonize prosperity. we celebrate success in our party.
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that's one of the big differences between our party and our president. he leaves the party of big government, he believes in ever expanding entitlement, he's wrong, we're right, and this is a battle we cannot lose. those who pick up the weapons of the left today will find them turned against us tomorrow. that's the choice our party gives america. or else we don't offer them any choice at all. and americans in my view will demand a real choice in this campaign between those people who believe in prosperity and success and opportunity and those who believe in government. and i think they'll choose us. by the way, by the way if president obama thinks you can compare his record of job losses with my record of job creation,
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that's a battle we're going to win. and if he thinks he can compare his record of crony capitalism, with my record of free market success, that's a battle we can win. and let me be clear. if republican leaders want to join this president in demonizing success, and disparaging conservative values, then they're not going to be fit to be our nominee. >> and so now the battle shifts to florida. joining us now, live from washington, danielle belton with the blog the black snob and ann marie houser. good to see both of you ladies. >> good to be here. >> at one point, mitt romney seemed to be the inevitable gop nominee, all that changed just really within a 24 hour period. he lost iowa after a recount to santorum and then lost handily in south carolina.
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so as romney heads now into florida, and even after that, nevada, are we about to see a candidate staying on message or making big changes in his campaign strategy? >> i think what we'll see is governor romney going into florida. it is a new day for him. he has an opportunity to take his record on creating jobs, a successful governor, successful executive and i think he'll have an opportunity to connect with voters in florida. it is very promising for him in florida. they have the money and the structure to do very well there. i think it is a new day. i think south carolina was significant. newt gingrich had huge momentum. he did very well in the debates. and he really connected with the voters there, but, look, that's his backyard. he also had perry's endorsement that week. so that was last week. we'll see what florida holds in the next ten days. >> so, danielle, how do you see it? more of the same from mitt romney as he heads to florida or
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does he have to change strategy, maybe staffing? >> i think it would be a dangerous thing for romney to drastically change his strategy. he picked the way he's going to hedge, he's picked where he's going to go with focusing on the republican emphasis in free market and kind of, you know, celebrating his business person stance. i don't see how he could deviate that. i think it is almost a dangerous thing for him to change tracks. he has to hold hard to what he's doing right now, keep hitting back hard with what he has right now and essentially just double down on his strategy. >> can the same be said about newt gingrich? he didn't use a whole lot of money in south carolina of his own campaign money, but super pac money made a big difference possibly for him in south carolina. so, danielle, what about gingrich? might you see any changes as he approaches florida? >> it is going to be interesting for gingrich. i feel like he went a very
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aggressive and in some ways lean kind of track with south carolina, which worked great for south carolina. i could see why he would go that way with it. he really tapped into people's frustration with the media, hit the race angle really hard in a way that worked great in this particular race but resonated differently depending which audience you're dealing with nationally. in florida, with the way gingrich is, i see him in some cases continuing to hit hard because he likes at plau s the line with the audience. will that be at the expense of independents? >> so, ann na marie, do you loot this week where newt gingrich has the upper hand or the advantage because not only is he coming off a south carolina win, but there are two debates and he rebels and relishes in the debates and he has a chance to appeal to floridians or nevadaens in a very big way on
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that stage. >> he excels in the debates. he soared this past week in south carolina after his debate performances because he tapped into two things. one, the anti-obama frustration in this country and the anti-media frustration in, you know, in our primary. and so, yeah, i think these two debates no doubt he'll be again very strong. but debates matter. it is about more than just debates there is going to be significant campaigning. there is a lost time in between debates and talking about your record and honestly if voters take a look, you know what newt says, as saying he's anti-washington, he is the washington lobbyist and mitt romney is the executive, the job creator, the outsider who is running here. so voters will have to decide which one they prefer. >> ann marie, danielle, thank you so much. we'll see you later on in the hour. we'll talk about two of the other four contenders, how will rick santorum and ron paul gain momentum after a poor showing in south carolina, the candidates reveal their future strategies
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we continue to delve into the issues on the presidential campaign every sunday. we're spending this hour of the "cnn newsroom" to allow you to hear from the contenders as they spell out their ideas for the future for the united states. rick santorum says it is, quote, game on, despite his third place finish in south carolina. he says his focus now is florida. earlier santorum told our candy crowley why he will appeal to voters in the sunshine state. >> florida is a tough state for everybody. it is very, very expensive. it is a very short time frame. we'll wait and see how the
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debates turn out. we'll wait and see how the -- this event here in south carolina is going to affect the polls. but leading into florida yesterday, we were sitting in second place in florida. so we feel like we can go and compete there. but this race isn't going to be over in florida, not going to be over in -- i don't think in super tuesday. this will be a long race. you have proportional delegates, not winner take all states. you have an opportunity for someone like rick santorum, who is a solid conservative, up against a -- as i agree with newt, a massachusetts moderate, i disagree with newt he's the conservative standard there. newt is the guy that, you know, that in my opinion is a very high risk candidate. not only does he -- he is wrong on the individual mandate and government mandated health insurance, which he supported for 20 years, he's wrong on the wall street bailout, he was wrong on global warming, wrong on the immigration issue, these are probably the four biggest
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issues the tea party has which is really the conservative base of the republican party now, and newt is just not in the right place on those. i think the more focus as we now have gotten down to three serious candidates, the less attractive, i think newt will be and the better alternative we are. >> ron paul definitely would not agree with santorum's declaration that this is a three-man gop race, even though the congressman finished fourth place in south carolina and hasn't yet won a primary, paul isn't giving up. he says his plan is to win as many delegates as possible for the republican national convention. >> the issues you all know very well, the country is coming our way. this campaign has a long way to go. the momentum is growing. the one thing we can say about our campaign, have you ever noticed the other candidates going up and then down, up and then down? so far i am very proud to say that our efforts is steady
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growth, steady growth like this. >> president obama lays out a new jobs plan while a disney world we'll tell you all about it next. >> you know why president obama told disney world. the only place that has longer lines than the unemployment office. ñ/#
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all right, welcome back to this special hour of the "cnn newsroom." we're focusing on politics, allowing you to hear from the 2012 presidential contenders. so i think we have a clip of president obama, you may have seen it earlier, at a fund-raiser in new york. singing.
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do we have that clip? >> then to know that reverend al green was here. ♪ i am so in love with you ♪ those guys didn't think i would do it. i told you i was going to do it. >> even al green who was in the audience was impressed. so in addition to being in new york, the president also was in florida. he stopped by disney world to talk about the tourism industry there and how it can help grow jobs. >> every year tens of millions of tourists all over the world
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come to visit america. makes sense. got the greatest country on earth. people want to come. as folks in orlando know, that's good for our economy. it means people are renting cars and they're staying in hotels and they're eating at restaurants and they're checking out the sites. it means people are doing business here in the united states. in 2010, nearly 60 million international visitors helped the tourism industry generate over $134 billion. tourism is the number one service that we export. number one. and that means jobs. more money spent by more tourists means more businesses can hire more workers. a pretty simple formula. and that's why we're all here today. to tell the world that america
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is open for business. we want to welcome you. and to take concrete steps to boost america's tourism industry so we can keep growing our economy and creating more jobs. here in florida, and all across the country. here's the good news. we have got the best product to sell. look at where we are. we have got the most entertaining destinations in the world. this is the land of extraordinary natural wonders, from the rocky mountains to the grand canyons, from yellowstone to yosemite. this is the land where we do big things. and so have incredible landmarks like the golden gate bridge and the empire state building, the hoover dam, the gateway arch. this is the land of iconic cities and all their sites from independence hall in
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philadelphia, to faneuil hall in boston, from the space needle in seattle to the skyline of my hometown in chicago. a nice skyline for those of you who have never been there. all right, couple of chicagoans back there. but i'm here today because i want more tourists here tomorrow. i want america to be the top tourist destination in the world. the top tourist destination in the world. and this is something we have been focused on for some time. two years ago, i signed a bill into law called the travel promotion act. it had broad support of both democrats and republicans and as you know that doesn't always happen. and it is it s and it acceset up a brand-new organization. it pitches america as the travel
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destination for the rest of the world to come to visit. you got to see advertising for other countries, other destinations here in the united states, right? well, we have got do the same thing. so that when people are thinking about where they want to travel, where they want to spend their vacation, we want them to come here. so that's already in place, but we have got to do more. so today i directed my administration to send me a new national tourism strategy focused on creating jobs. and some of america's most successful business leaders, some who are here today, have signed up to help. we're going to see how we can make it easier for foreign tourists to find basic information about visiting america. and we're going to see how we can attract more tourists to our national parks. we want people visiting not just epcot center, but the everglades too. the more folks who visit
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america, the more americans we get back to work. it is that simple. so one step we're taking is the expansion of something called the global entry program. it is a program that protects our borders and makes our -- and makes life easier for frequent travelers to and from the united states. getting into pra ing intting in requires an extensive background check. but once you're in, once you've proven yourself to be a solid individual coming here for business or recreation purposes, instead of going through long lines at immigration, we can scan your passport, your fingerprints and you're on your way. so it is a great example of how we're using new technology to maintain national security and boost tourism at the same time. >> and this week it will be a pretty busy one for president obama. tuesday night he delivers the state of the union address. then just look at the map, he'll be traveling to five states in three days, wednesday he's in
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cedar rapids, iowa. next, he heads to the phoenix area and that same night he leaves for las vegas. thursday, the president travels to denver, colorado, and then it is on to detroit, michigan. and friday, the president delivers a speech in the detroit area before heading back to the nation's capital. joining us again, both from washington, danielle belton with the blog, the black snob. and ann marie houser, former communications director for two-term minnesota governor tim pawlenty. ladies, the president hitting all those spots that the republicans eventually will be hitting too other the next month for the primaries and caucuses. is the president, ann marie, is he campaigning? >> look, i mean, just look at that map. it is very evident that he has given up on governing and he's in full campaign mode. he had four campaign events i believe in new york last week. and, you know, it is go time for the president in terms of the campaign which is unfortunate
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because the economy is the biggest issue right now for our campaign. and it is unfortunate to see that he's shirking his duties this this respect. tourism is very important. that's great there is so much more to that in terms of getting our economy back on track. >> danielle, the president has to strike a delicate balance, right? so he doesn't appear as though he's focusing on campaigning. yet at the same time, he remains the commander in chief. state of the union, tuesday night, the message is that he will be delivering more specific to how he sees this next year of his presidency, or perhaps the next four years if re-elected? >> i think he has to hit those overarching things. the whole benefit of running for president while you're president is the fact you get to address the nation directly, is the fact you get a huge platform like the state of the union to address both your goals for not just this year, but your vision for the second term of your presidency. this is a huge moment for president obama. not just to get the attention
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back on him and what his efforts are in washington, to get the economy back on track, but just about what are his long-term goals for the president, what are his long-term goals for the united states and for us getting our economy back together. this is a big moment. >> at the same time, it seems there would be a lot of self-imposed pressure to underscore the accomplishments of this administration thus far as well, right, ann marie? >> sure. he's got a record he has to run on to try and get re-elected. but, you know, four years ago, he came in with very pretty words and people's trust and we're three years in, he made the economy worse. he inherited a bad economy but he made it worse, unfortunately. i think he's lost a lot of trust. you see that in the numbers. he's at 34%. does he have the power, the bully pulpit. but, look, he's got an uphill battle to climb and it is going to be real interesting. you look at the republican party, yes, we're disagreeing
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now on who is going to be our nominee. but one thing we agree on is we want barack obama to be a one-term president, so they can't underestimate that passion. >> danielle, just hearing, you know, ann marie talk about, the president made it worse, does the president feel compelled during this state of the union address to try to combat that sentiment or somehow try to underscore the litany of accomplishments he believes this white house has made? >> i feel like the president really needs to speak more to his strengths, more about the accomplishments he has made since he's been in the white house and to address the fact that, you know, he prevented the economy from getting drastically worse, the reality is he inherited a terrible economy. he has fought congress -- especially republicans in congress the whole way for any type of improvement, just the fight over the payroll tax, something that should have been relatively simple and unemployment extension, when people were hurting, those were knock down, dragout fights that led to things like our credit rating being in danger, just so many other issues that hurt our economy that the president
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really didn't have that much to do with. the point is he needs to reiterate is that he is the president, he is working on these things, he has accomplished things and he can accomplish even more if he gets the time to do it. >> danielle belton, ann marie houser, thank you for joining us from washington. always great to see you. >> thank you, fredricka. the big gop battleground now florida. will that key contest be as volatile as the state of south carolina and its primary? a live report from tampa straight ahead. great guest experience. that makes my day. and during the four course feast, there's so much to choose from. [ male announcer ] the four course seafood feast is back at red lobster. still just $15. get soup, salad, unlimited cheddar bay biscuits, dessert, and your choice of 7 entrées,
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all right, cnn brings you politics each sunday during this hour. we're bringing you the 2012 presidential contenders in their words. just a day after the roller coaster south carolina primary. the gop candidates are now squarely focused on the next battleground, florida. that state's primary is just nine days away. joining us live now from tampa, cnn political reporter shannon travis. so, shannon, so far, i know it is early, nine days away. still, how is that race shaping up? >> excellent question, fred. let me start off by telling you this is the first time in three months i haven't had to wear a coat coming from iowa and new hampshire. that being said, to answer your question, the way that the race
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stands right now is how it kind of stood in south carolina going in. we had a recent cnn/orc poll that shows mitt romney ahead of newt gingrich by about 24 points. let's look at the numbers. mitt romney, 43. rick santorum, 19%. gingrich, 18%. ron paul, 9%. i meant mitt romney is ahead of rick santorum 24 points. also the name of the the game here, we had three contests, iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, the name of the game as you know, fred, is racking up delegates. in terms of the delegate counts, you need them to win the nomination, we show by these numbers, this is still a long race. romney 31. newt gingrich, 26 delegates. ron paul, 10 delegates and rick santorum, 8 delegates. this race is far from over. people said mitt romney was on a march to the nomination, he was going to lock it up, because we have three different runners, three different contests and by those delegate counts this thing is far from over, fred.
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>> far from over indeed. you need 1,044 delegates to clinch the nomination. let's talk about the blocs that the candidates are trying to appeal to in florida. what kind of messages will resonate there? >> i mean, florida is a lot different from south carolina. south carolina being a relily red state. florida not so much. a swing state. so some of the voting blocs you'll hear these candidates appeal to, evangelicals, but tea partiers play a big role here in florida. i've been covering that movement since 2009. i've been here a number of times. this morning, i got an e-mail from one of the largest tea party groups here in south florida. and they were saying, we should all rally around newt gingrich. he's the real conservative. and also moderates, moderates will be a big play. in some of those areas, those will be important as well. >> all right. all of those factors are going
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to matter indeed. thanks so much, shannon travis, appreciate that. also know this week there are two debates that too will play a factor in the decision-making there. how is florida expected to vote come that primary day? january 31st, a breakdown next.
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we continue to delve into the issues on the presidential campaign every sunday. we're spending this hour of the "cnn newsroom" to allow you to hear from the contenders as they spell out their ideas for the future of the united states. florida is bigger and more diverse than south carolina. it is also more moderate. so how are the candidates expected to do there? john king breaks down the numbers. >> here is something that is very troubling for the romney campaign. florida is a close primary. some independents could vote in south carolina. among voters who self-identify as republicans, speaker gingrich, 45%. governor romney, 28%. rick santorum and ron paul rounding it out. you have to have a republican electorate in florida.
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more moderate than south carolina. you can't project the numbers flat over. when you win big, you have bigger numbers. that's a problem for mitt romney, something going forward. among voters who identify themselves as moderates, governor romney carried this group here, 31% for romney, 36% for romney, 31% for gingrich. one more thing i want to look at here. this is interesting. voters who are asked in this exit poll, would you support mitt romney as nominee, those who would not support ron paul, our analysts talked that ron paul is not really republican, some are independents, some libertarians. 38% of paul's supporters said they would not support. this is likely novel last, but 30% of gingrich supporters would not support romney as a nominee. the paul supporters san indication his voters we're seeing in the process now may not be reliable.
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you look at florida. a divert state. much more conservative up here, more moderate in here, the miami population, the latinos you heard gingrich daughters talking about, let's see what we're talking about here. john mccain, mick huckabee up here. you see the diversity. much more conservative in the panhandle. mitt romney has a base here. big populations here, here and here. a lot of conservative voters up here. a bigger state and more diverse state and a challenging state and expensive state. >> the northern part of florida is like the south and the southern part of florida is like the north because of all of the people who moved to the south. >> we'll get back to the presidential race this hour. meantime, the sports world mourns the loss of legendary football coach joe paterno. next hour, i'll talk to another legendary coach, bobby bowden, about paterno's life and legacy.
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welcome back to the special hour of the "cnn newsroom." we're taking this time out every sunday to let you hear from the 2012 presidential contenders in their words out on the campaign trail. the florida voter population is very diverse. based on where people are geographically, they vote differently. let's bring in our guest to talk about this, some of the distinguishing factors. sergio bustos covers south
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florida. good to see you. scott kent of the news herald covers the panhandle, joining us from panama city. we can see you and you've got a phone for backup to make sure we can hear each other as well. that's good safety measure. good to see you, gentlemen. let's talk of the priorities of the electorate there. scott, let me begin with you and how traditionally, you know, what kind of messages the panhandle might want to hear. >> well, this is a very conservative area, more conservative than most of the rest of the state and much more southern in culture. it is known as l.a., which stands for lower alabama. and we're talking mostly west of tallahassee. once you get to tallahassee, that's more moderate to liberal. in the panhandle, the western part of the panhandle, much more conservative, much more southern, very much anti-big government, very much a tea party part of the state, tea
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party was very big here. against obama care, limited government, low taxes, more -- in many ways a lot more like south carolina was. >> okay, so there is some real parallels you see, south carolina for the pan handle. not the case in south florida. sergio, that's your concentrated effort there in south florida. there the latino population is very high. but we're also talking about a segment of the state that was impacted hard by the mortgage meltdown mess and foreclosures et cetera. what might these candidates say and do to appeal to a very diverse populous there? >> well, as scott mentioned, south florida is really two countries in and of itself. there is the deep -- there is south new york, because of all of the influx of new yorkers down here. and northern america. large number of latinos
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dominated by cubans, of course, but what is going to really be tough, i think, for romney is the whole bain capital issue. there is a certain frustration among floridians and it is state wide. they're frustrated with the foreclosure crisis. they're frustrated with the high unemployment, the stubborn unemployment. that will play very well to newt gingrich. newt has somehow -- mr. gingrich has somehow expressed the frustration and fury of the average floridian voter. i think that's going to play very well down here. i think he can do quite well. rick santorum will have a tougher time and ron paul skipping the state all together. >> we're also joined by another reporter, we're not going to be able to see him, but we'll hear him. aaron delot of the orlando sentinel joining us on the phone. your concentration is the central part of the state. we know that this is a very tourism, you know, driven economy there in the center part
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of the state. unemployment is also very big issue. will people feel torn between the candidates here? >> i think that, you know, the interstate corridor connecting orlando and tampa bay is the most important segment of the state. it contains about 45% of the republican voting base. and it is also a region that is large pockets of suburban and suburban blue collar workers, an area that has been very heavily hit by the housing bubble burst as well as south florida. so it is a region that both of the romney and gingrich are going to try to attack president obama on, specifically the space shuttle program on the space coast, that's an area where they can lay blame at the president's feet. i think you're seeing in the advertising the attempt to try
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and tie the corporate raider slogan on to romney and the housing freddie and fannie mac housing blame on gingrich. and that's an issue that you go through a corridor of suburban and exurben communities with foreclosure rates of 24% or higher, that's a huge issue. >> yeah. with gingrich and his ties to freddie mac, fannie mae, that may be a big problem as well. so, you know, scott, let me bring you back into the equation here. we're talking about the former governor jeb bush who has refrained from endorsing any of the four thus far. is it a wait and see? is he waiting to see what florida seems to think and feel on this. why would that be? >> the word was, i think as a week ago he was very close to endorsing romney and seems to have backed off from that now.
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perhaps he's got his usual good political sense kicking in after what happened yesterday. it would be very interesting to see the polls. romney was coming in here before with a pretty big lead. love to see how the polls change, if they change. >> so sergio -- >> jeb bush's endorsement would be huge, but now it may not be the time to do it, he might want to sit back and see how this shakes out. >> okay. all right. >> gingrich did very well in the panhandle because he is so aggressive at taking the argument. >> scott kent, very good. we're out of time. i'm sorry to cut you off there. sergio and aaron also. thank you, gentlemen, for joining us, whether you're in front of the camera there or on the phone or maybe even both, right, scott? thanks so much, gentlemen. appreciate it. good to see all of you and hear from you too. you can see all the candidates face off in florida. they will all be at the cnn debate at the university of florida in jacksonville.
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here is a look at where the 2012 cop tenders will be this week. they're all in florida, campaigning ahead of the state's primary january 31st. on tuesday and thursday, all four candidates are participating in debates in jacksonville. and the president is also on the road this week. he will travel to five states in three days visiting all the places where the gop candidates are campaigning within t

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